Why the wave of Socialists rallying to Macron did not take place

Only four socialist parliamentarians have officially joined Emmanuel Macron since the victory of Benoît Hamon at the primary of the left. For the right wing of the PS, though Macron is tempting, their party and careers mean more.

It had been expected that a wave of Socialist parliamentarians would flock to the En Marche! candidate Emmanuel Macron from the end of January. Over a week into Feburary, and this has still yet to happen. Since the victory of Benoît Hamon on Sunday, January 29, at the Socialist primary, only MPs Dominique Baert, Alain Calmette and Marc Goua as well as Senator Maurice Vincent have officially announced their support for the former Minister of Economy.

There was indeed a “right of withdrawal” of the campaign of Benoît Hamon announced by some twenty deputies in an article published published in Le Monde at the end of January, but the majority decided not to join the candidate of En Marche! Though many Socialists felt disappointed with the election of Hamon, there has been no further movements.

The signatories of the right of withdrawal had listed five subjects on which they hoped to their candidate for the presidential election would undertake: the universal income, article 49-3 , the repeal of the Labor Law, secularism and the tax burden that will weigh on the middle classes. But the appeal of these deputies was not taken into account by Benoît Hamon.

“He showed us his strategy for the campaign and listened to Gilles Savary who spoke on our behalf, but I did not feel at home with someone who was trying to convince us. Many parliamentarians came out frustrated because the meeting did not last long and we never had the opportunity to debate, so we stayed on a statement of disagreement,” regretted the deputy of Paris Christophe Caresche, when questioned by France 24.

These deputies of the pole of the reformers all recognize that they are much more politically close to Emmanuel Macron than to Benoît Hamon. Logic would like them to “start”, but they prefer to temporize. Here are their reasons.

The threat of exclusion

One is the fear of losing his seat as an MP. If Emmanuel Macron seems today to be carried by flattering polls, there is no evidence that his success will last and there is no guarantee that candidates in the legislative elections will be in a position to prevail. The Socialist Party has warned in mid-December: candidates who will not support the Socialist candidate in the presidential election will lose the support of the party as a whole.

The first secretary of the Socialist Party, Jean-Christophe Cambadélis,  on Tuesday, February 8, warned the mayors tempted by a sponsorship in favor of Emmanuel Macron. “I said, and I did not move, that those who sponsored him would no longer be in the Socialist Party,” he said on BFMTV. “We can not be both on the Party team Socialist and sponsor the opposing team. ”

Loyalty to the Socialist Party

However, it is not just the courage that comes into play. The personal history and attachment of each MP to the PS are not to be underestimated. “I have been in the Socialist Party for 30 years, I do not necessarily want to throw the baby out with the bath water,” explained the deputy of Vendée Hugues Fourage to France 24. “To leave is not to accept the vote that took place. It would also be a form of denial or cowardice, because if one inscribes itself a little in history, one realizes that there have always been opposing lines in the PS, It is between François Mitterrand and Michel Rocard or even of the time of the plural left of Lionel Jospin. ”

“It must be understood that it is difficult for elected Socialists who have built their political career with the Socialist Party it’s supporters to make such a decision. It is not a choice that is made with gaiety of heart” , said the deputy of Cantal Alain Calmette, who decided to support the direction of Macron.

Despite substantive disagreements with their presidential candidate, many socialist parliamentarians are therefore inclined to respect the choice of the primary, without however approving it. Though they may follow through with the right of withdrawal they announced, there will be nothing more. “It is clear that Hamon does not carry our ideas and that we are closer to Macron, I can not say anything else”, recognizes Christophe Caresche, “But we are not there either to annoy him every day. There is also a form of loyalty on our part, the situation is too serious. ”

The call of Manuel Valls to the unit

Many Socialist MPs who supported Manuel Valls during the primary heard his appeal a few days after his defeat. The former prime minister asked them, at an on camera meeting at the Maison de la Chimie, to stay “together” and not to run to Emmanuel Macron. And in fact, many prefer to wait. “A majority of us have been convinced by the request of Valls,” said Eure François Loncle, MP. “People are waiting to see how things are going, how it goes”, adds Alain Calmette.

Between supporting Benoît Hamon and joining Emmanuel Macron, there a third strategy that is behind this wait and see posture: let the left-winger be eliminated in the first round of the presidential election and recover the hand on the party once he is defeated. “The real subject is going to be the ability to be in the second round,” says Christophe Caresche. “It’s a question that will ultimately prevail and that’s what will ultimately make the difference, not just the question of reformism. ”

The political positioning of En Marche

Socialist parliamentarians are also waiting to learn more about Emmanuel Macron’s program. “Personally, I find it interesting what he does, I just wait to see also what it proposes because today he is not yet very precise,” judges Christophe Caresche. “It is difficult to position ourselves today, politics is first of all the choice of ideas and for the moment, Emmanuel Macron is more in personalization, and if we customize to excess, it is not enough” , Said Hugues Fourage.

Finally, on the side of En Marche, a massive influx of socialist parliamentarians would not necessarily be welcome. “We do not want to become a place of recycling for the socialists disappointed,” confided to France 24 a close friend of Emmanuel Macron. The latter has partly built his current success on the rejection of traditional parties by the French and indeed has no desire to be embarrassed by the right by being nicknamed the “PS bis”.

Source: Pourquoi la vague de ralliements socialistes vers Macron n’a pas eu lieu – France 24